Shopping centre manager on rent theft charge

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A FORMER shopping centre manager has appeared in court charged with stealing £2,000 from his bosses.

Michael Weston appeared before Peterlee Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with five counts of theft by employee.

Heather Wilkinson, prosecuting, said each charge related to an amount of £400 from Praxis Real Estate Ltd, the owners of Castle Dene Shopping Centre in Peterlee.

The incidents are said to have happened in August 2010, and again last year in April and August and twice in May.

Miss Wilkinson said the money related to cash collected as rent.

Weston’s solicitor Lawrence Petterson said not guilty pleas would be indicated to each allegation.

Magistrates accepted jurisdiction, but Weston elected for the case to go before a jury at a crown court.

The 64-year-old, of Deaf Hill Terrace, Trimdon Station, was released on unconditional bail until a committal hearing before magistrates in August.